Mar 7, 2017

The highlights from Spicer's Tuesday briefing

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Spicer was back on camera for his Tuesday briefing after a weeklong hiatus — and he had a lot of ground to cover. Top of the list? The Obamacare repeal plan that was released last night. A stack of copies of the new bill was positioned on a table next to the briefing podium, signaling that — as Tom Price noted — "the bill is on the table." Clever. Other takeaways:

  • Spicer's guest du jour: HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price broke down the new Obamacare replacement plan, emphasizing that it's all "about patients and partnership." He also noted that patients will be able to return to their previous healthcare plans that were eliminated under Obamacare.
  • On calling it TrumpCare: Price: "Oh, I don't know... I'd rather call it PatientCare." Spicer: "I think we're less concerned with labels right now and more concerned with action and results."
  • Wiretapping: Spicer said the president "has not" asked the FBI director, James Comey, about the alleged tapping. When asked whether he believed Obama wiretapped the president, Spicer hit back, "I know that's a 'cute' question... but I'm not here to talk about myself."
  • Obamacare replacement: Spicer repeatedly stated, "The old plan was jammed down everybody's throats." He also reiterated (again and again) that the biggest difference is the size of the bill, "ours is a tenth of the size!"
  • On Trump claiming on Twitter that Obama released 122 Gitmo prisoners who returned to the battlefield, which is not correct (Bush released 113 of those 122): The president "meant to comment on the totality of releases... in that aspect, yes he was correct," said Spicer.

Go deeper

Fauci: US "starting to see glimmers of hope" in new COVID-19 cases

The U.S. is starting to see "glimmers of hope" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, despite recent increases in the rate of reported deaths due to the illness, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News.

The big picture: Fauci said deaths generally lag behind the number of new cases and hospitalizations. The latter two indicators are what's "fueling the outbreak," Fauci said. He pointed to stabilizing or decreasing numbers of key indicators in New York as a sign that "we should start to see the beginning of a turnaround," after this week.

Big Tech's summer internships go digital

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The major tech companies are scrambling to craft digital options for this year's summer intern class, as businesses remain shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Internships serve as key learning opportunities for students, but are also critical for the recruiting and diversity efforts of the Big Tech companies who compete fiercely for college talent.

Scoop: Staples refuses to pay landlords for April rents

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Staples recently informed landlords that it will not pay April rents for its U.S. stores, even though the locations remain open, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Commercial landlords are stuck in a tightening vise, forgiving or deferring payments from shuttered tenants while still needing to meet their own mortgage obligations.